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Master of Arts in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology is a 36-credit degree program focusing on the academic study of theology. Students enrolled in this graduate degree program work on developing principles and methods of theological reasoning and research by studying the tradition as well as the contemporary context of theological discourse. While solidly rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, the program welcomes students of all religious traditions and invites them to appreciate the wisdom of theologians from a variety of cultural and religious contexts. Graduates are prepared to teach in various settings, for public service and further doctoral studies.

The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity offers the Master of Arts degree in Theology in collaboration with the Department of Theology of the University of St. Thomas. Together, the two faculties bring a wealth of expertise in a broad range of areas to the academic study of theology.

Program Goals

The Master of Arts in Theology degree program enables students:

  • to gain mastery of theology as conducted in the Roman Catholic Tradition with particular emphasis on the Sacred Scriptures, the fundamental content of Christian theology, the history and development of doctrine, moral decision making, and the sacramental life of the Church;
  • to develop competence in addressing the tasks of theology through an understanding of various theological methods and proficiency in research and theological argumentation;
  • to apply the content of the Roman Catholic Tradition in an academically rigorous way to pressing contemporary concerns including ecumenical, global, and multicultural issues;
  • to gain an appreciation for the contribution and place of the academic study of theology in the life of the Church.

Program Requirements

In addition to the application requirements, these additional items are required for a complete application to the Master of Arts in Theology degree program:

  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the last five years with a writing score of 4 or above.
  • A three- to five-page personal essay focusing on the applicant’s expectations of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, goals in seeking the master’s degree and a description of one theological work studied in the past year.
  • Three letters of recommendation pertaining to the applicant’s academic abilities.

Degree Requirements

Students in the Master of Arts in Theology degree program pursue one of two possible tracks: (1) a thesis option in which the student specializes in a particular sub-discipline of theology culminating in the research and writing of a masters-level thesis; or (2) a research portfolio option in which the student revises and submits a series of four research papers in lieu of a thesis.   

Portfolio Option

  1. Six core courses - 18 credits
  2. Five elective courses - 15 credits
  3. Portfolio of four research papers - 3 credits
  4. Reading proficiency in a second language used for research. Competency is normally demonstrated through the successful completion of a language proficiency exam administered by personnel of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. 
  5. Comprehensive exams

Thesis Option

  1. Six core courses - 18 credits
  2. Four elective courses - 12 credits
  3. Thesis - 6 credits
  4. Reading proficiency in a second language used for research. Competency is normally demonstrated through the successful completion of a language proficiency exam administered by personnel of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. 
  5. Comprehensive exams

Course Distribution

Core Requirements

Students are required to take:

DVDT 502 - Ecclesiology - 3 credits

DVDT 661 - Christian Theology of God - 3 credits

DVHS 601 - Patristics - 3 credits

DVMT 601 - Fundamental Moral Theology - 3 credits

DVSS 525 - Survey of Old Testament Literature - 3 credits

~ OR ~

DVSS 530 - Survey of New Testament Literature - 3 credits

DVST 601 - Eucharist - 3 credits

Electives

Electives in the Master of Arts in Theology may be chosen from the complete course listing for The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity with the approval of the student's academic advisor.  Working with an advisor, a student can choose courses that support their thesis research, fulfill a personal area of interest, or prepare a graduate of the program to acquire more in-depth expertise in a particular area.

Comprehensive Exams

The comprehensive exam is the culmination of a student's study and an opportunity to showcase expertise in the area of theology. Enrolled students may visit the "SPSSOD Student Resources" Canvas site for Master of Arts in Theology material.

For more information, please contact Master of Arts in Theology Program Director Dr. John Martens.

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